Dr. Zohurul Hoque & Husain Nuri
88:17 Do they not then look at the camels how they are created;
88:17 After reviewing the imageries of the Hereafter presented above, if people are still in doubt about the Hereafter, they are told to observe four natural marvels in order to appreciate the Creator and His magnificent creation, all of which individually or collectively must convince the observers that God, who created all these, certainly has the power to fulfill the possibilities mentioned in this sûrah.
Most of the commentators interpreted the term ibil (pl.) as camels. I have also translated the term in the conventional manner as camel. However, in light of the natural marvels mentioned in the following verses, interpretation of ibil as camels appears to be out of place and regional in its appeal. Camel's creation does not appear to be significantly different than creation of any animal, wild or domestic. Various Arabic lexicons also gave other shades of meaning, among which rain-bearing cloud (cumulonimbus) is prominent (Lisân al-'Arab, Tâj al-'Arus). The Qur'ânic appeal to study the marvels of the nature is ideally directed to people of all periods of time and setting. Obviously the appeal here is to understand the metrological details behind the formation of various clouds, cumulonimbus in particular - how it is formed and what causes it to pour out heavy rain. By studying the intricate mechanism behind apparently ordinary phenomena, people with insight might realize the existence of God. Similar analytical studies may be undertaken to understand the intricacies of the formation of the universe (2:117; 13:2; 14:19; 15:85; 31:10) or the formation of the mountain on the earth or spreading out of the earth, possibly with an allusion to plate tectonic movements of the crust.
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